This is a perfect walk for a long weekend. It offers a diferent view of Cornwall with some suprisingly challenging stretches to keep you on your toes! Starting from the lovely harbour village of Padstow, the route follows along Little Petherick Creek, over fields and woodlands, moors and valleys to Fowey. Along the way, the route visits a number of religious sites from shrines, standing stones, holy wells, chapels and churches. Part of the route is very ancient, dating from the Bronze Ages. It was also a route used to herd cattle from one end of Cornwall to the other to avoid having to sail round the treacherous waters around Land's End. Today, it is still a relatively unspoilt landscape with remote hamlets and villages. It can be linked with the South West Coast Path and Smugglers Way to form a circular or longer route.
Padstow is a bustling harbour village standing on the Camel Estuary on the north coast of Cornwall, with a beautiful view across the river to Rock. It is now linked with celebrity chef Rick Stein who owns a number of restaurants here. Padstow is also the home of the National Lobster Hatchery. The Saints Way begins at the Lych gate of St Petroc Church, a fine 15th century building. The route leaves Padstow, crosses Dennis Creek and then ascends Dennis Hill, which is topped by a granite obelisk. Take time here to admire the far reaching views. The route now follows first Trerethern and then Little Petherick Creek. Look out for Sea Mills on the opposite side, which was once a tidal gristmill. The route now descends steeply to Credis Creek and travels along a former "sanding track", which was used to transport fine beach sand up into the fields where it was used to improve the soil. The route continues alongside the creek to reach the main road (A389) at Little Petherick, where it crosses the creek and continues along the opposite bank to Mellingey.
Look out for the impressive five storey mill building, where you can see the art of basket weaving in action. There is also a tearoom if you are ready for refreshment or a cream tea! The route now continues on to the hamlet of Trenance. From here a detour of approx 1 mile will take you to the village of St Issey, which offers a church, pub and shops. Continuing on from Trenance, the route passes the ancient settlement site of Blable, although the current house date from the 19th century, before reaching the main A39 road at West Parm Farm. The route now climbs to Pawton Springs and emerges onto St Breock Downs. This is the highest non-granite upland in Cornwall with the trig point at 216m. Look out for the burial barrows and St Breock Longstone. From here, there are panoramic views back to the Camel Estuary to the North and the heights of Bodmin Moor to the East.
A more recent addition to the landscape is the wind farm. The route decends from the longstone and follows the lane to St Breock Downs Farm and the holiday resort at Hustyns. From here you will see Helman Tor in the distance. The route first follows the lane and then descends into Tregawne Valley. After crossing the Truthern River, the route climbs up to the pretty village to Withiel. The village is dominated by its fine medieval church which has a 13th century nave. The route leaves Withiel and crosses fields to join the quaintly named Withielgoose Lane and passing the equally quaintly named hamlet of Retire to reach Tremorebridge. Look out for the 19th century iron guidepost just before the bridge. The route crosses the bridge and follows the lane past Tremone Manor to Tremone. Look out for the fine Celtic Cross on the grass verge before the route continues to Higher Woodley and then crosses fields to reach the lane leading to Lanivet.
Lanivet is the half-way point of the journey and a good stopping off place that has a pub and accommodation. The route climbs out of the village and passed under the A30 road to Reperry Cross. This cross is set on top of a hedge at the junction of roads, with a plaque saying that it was restored by Sir Robert Edgecombe. From here, the route follows the lane passing other crosses at first St Ingunger Farn and then Fenton Pits to reach the tiny hamlet of Trebell Green. It is shortly after Trebell Green at Helman Tor Gate that the route divides with the option of continuing to Fowey via Lanlivery and Golant or via Luxulyan and Tywardreath.
From Helman Tor Gate, the route via Lanlivery skirts the Tor, but does not climb to the top. However it is worth climbing to the summit as at 209m, it is the second highest point on the journey with impressive views of the surrounding countryside. The route continues following first a track, which later joins a lane into Lanlivery. Lanlivery has a 15th century church and the Crown Inn. This was the last stop for the drovers taking their stock cross-country along the Saints' Way to ships sailing from Fowey. The route leaves the village in the direction of Lostwithiel, passing Powderham Castle holiday park, not to be confused with Powderham Castle on the River Exe in Devon, to reach the main A390 road at Pelyn Tor. After No Mans Land, the route first leaves the main road and then soon after follows a track across the fields to Castle. The route is now back on the lane to Milltown, which is just a handful of cottages.
From Milltown, the route heads South and passes under the bridge carrying the main London to Penzance railway. Look out for the ancient farmhouse at Lantyan and the iron age hill fort on the ridge to the west. Looking down through the trees of Lantyan Wood are glimpses of the River Fowey and the church of St Winnow on the opposite bank. The route follows the lane passing Woodgate Wood and then crossing the stream down to Woodgate Pill. The route soon leaves the lane and climbs a hill and descends to the riverside village of Golant. It is worth a short detour to visit the riverside basin, which is separated from the river by the railway embankment. The route crosses Golant Down to Bodmin Pill before climbing steeply through Colvithick Wood to Penventinue and joins the lane to Fowey.
Fowey is built on a natural harbour and played an important in the Crusades, when local shipping owners often hired their vessels to the Crown. The streets are incredibly narrow and steep, except for those along the harbour front.
The Route continues along the lane to first Lowertown, then Corgee and finally Tredinnick where it leaves the road and heads across the fields towards Luxulyan. The route skirts around the edge of Luxulyan before rejoining the road to enter the village. On leaving the village, the route crosses the main railway line and then joins the route of the old mineral tramway. A worthwhile diversion here is to leave the main route to visit the Treffry Viaduct. From the old tramway, the route crosses fields to Trevanney Farm, continues on to Great Prideaux and then skirts Prideaux Camp which is a high status Iron Age defensive settlement. Positioned on a small round hill about 135m above sea level, Prideaux has good views over St. Austell Bay on a clear day. The route now descends through woodland to join the road to St Blazey.
The route continues along the main A390 road and crosses the railway before truning uphill to Kilhallon. It now follows the lane towards Lanescot, before descending across fields and through woodland and once again passing under the railway to reach the lovely village of Tywardreath. Many places in this area will be familiar to fans of Daphne du Maurier who used the area as an inspiration for some of her novels. The route now continues past the renovated Butter Market and leaves the village to climb over the hill to Polmear. Here it joins the South West Coast Path for a short distance before heading uphill. There are panoramic views from here across St Austell Bay and the busy Par docks. The route now leaves the main road and follows the lane above Polkerris, retaining the views across the bay, before turning left at Tregaminion church to cross fields to Lankelly Woods. Through the woods, the route climbs to meet the road at Lankelly Farm on the edge of Fowey but, instead of heading straight into the town, takes the more scenic route to join again with the South West Coast Path at Readymoney Cove. Above the cove are the remains of St Catherine's Castle, part of Henry VIII's sea defences. Climbing out from the cove, the route joins the Esplanade leading into Fowey, with fine views across the river to the village of Polruan.
The nearest railway stations to the route are listed below.
Bodmin Parkway is at the closest station to the start of the walk in Padstow. It is at least 4 hours by train from London Paddington, depending on the time of day of travel.
Par is at the closest station to the end of the walk in Fowey. It is at least 4 hours by train from London Paddington.
The National Rail Map provides a map of the rail network for you to plan your journey.
The nearest National Express long distance coach stops are listed below.
From Padstow: Wadebridge (6 miles), Bodmin (13 miles)
From Fowey: St Blazey (5 miles), Lostwihiel (6 miles), St Austell (9 miles)
National Express has a route network with over 1,000 UK destinations. The best value tickets will be secured with advance booking.
Both Padstow and Fowey are easily accessible by car being close to the A39 and A30 respectively.
Car parking is at a premium in Padstow. We may be able to arrange car parking at your first nights accommodation for the duration of your walking holiday. This will be subject to availability and may incur a small extra charge.
It is possible to reurn to your car by a combination of bus and train. First take the bus from Fowey to Par, then the train to Bodmin Parkway and finally the bus again to Padstow. The total journey time is just over 2 hours. We will be happy to advise on the public transport options and also to get quotes and book a return journey by taxi for you if you prefer.
We have described the route from north to south, but it is possible to walk the Saints Way in either direction and we have detailed route descriptions for both.
We are not offering Saints Way walking holidays in 2020.
The route is waymarked - although good navigation skills with a map and compass/GPS are helpful as in some parts the route is not always clear.
March to October.
We specialise in providing walking holidays in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Pembrokeshire and Somerset. We are enthusiastic about outdoor pursuits and have experienced climbing, canoeing, skiing, caving and potholing and windsurfing as well as walking throughout the UK, France, Spain, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
We use our experience to provide self-guided, pack-free walking holidays, tailored to the requirements and abilities of our clients.